20 Alumni from a range of EIT RawMaterials activities travelled to Huelva for an intensive two days of problem-solving

Company Challenge is a hands-on, industry-focused event for EIT RawMaterials Alumni. Working in groups over an intense 48 hours, participants developed solutions to a technical challenge and presented their results.

Before the event, participants were introduced to the real-life business problem from Atlantic Copper, related to the valorisation of secondary products from the copper cathode process. After arriving in Huelva and getting to know each other with some fun ice breaker activities, it was time to get started. The aim of the event was to come up with solutions that were not only technically sound and economically viable, but also presented as a marketable product – a real challenge!

It all kicked off with a visit to the Atlantic Copper plant and its Copper Interpretation Centre, as well as a session with Sol Villar, Senior Vice President of Organisation & Human Resources. This not only gave an insight into the technical process and everyday workings of the plant but also an overview of the company’s structure and talent management.

The rest of the time was spent at the International University of Andalucía (UNIA) working in small, interdisciplinary teams to develop solutions, with Irene Ruiz, Research and Development Manager, and Guillermo Ríos, Technology Director, from Atlantic Copper on hand to answer questions. In the evenings, participants also enjoyed a trip to Marismas del Odiel (UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve) and dinner in Huelva city centre.

Teamwork sessions were alternated with presentations from experts to give participants further tools to tackle the challenge. The Alumni heard about problem-solving methodologies, presentation techniques and team roles and responsibilities as well as the market considerations for the elements in question. These sessions were led by Laurence Lamm, Senior Advisor – Mineral and Metallurgical Processes at EIT RawMaterials, Hans Westerhof, Business Coach and Programme Manager at EIT Climate-KIC, Lorena Jurado, Business Development Manager at EIT RawMaterials, and César Jiménez, a trader specialising in base metals from Cometal S.A.

The event concluded with a pitching competition, where teams were assessed on both technical criteria and business viability. All of the teams presented incredibly impressive work for such a short time and the expert jury found it difficult to choose one winner! But of course, there had to be one, and Team Rainbow was awarded a prize of EUR 100 each. Overall, the event was a great start for EIT RawMaterials Alumni and we are already looking forward to next year’s edition!

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